Composting oyster shells is a fun hobby but a very good way to help recycle by reducing the impact on landfill sites. You can also create your own worm compost by grinding up the shells and mixing together with kitchen scraps including vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and eggshells, saw dust from woodworking or yard sales, and crushed eggshells. Worm compost can add rich organic fertilizer to your garden as it breaks down organic matter that otherwise would have gone to waste. A worm bin can hold 100 pounds of organic matter which is sufficient for planting vegetable gardens and creating worm compost.
Before composting oyster shells you will need to prepare the soil where the garden will be growing. You can use a rotating compost tumbler or a large shallow plastic garden bucket, a spray hose with water in it and a garden hose with nozzles that seal the nozzle at the bottom so that you don’t spray the soil or lose moisture through the holes in the nozzle. You will also need a spade or cultivator to crush the soil and get the little pieces of shell from the soil. There should be plenty of natural light in the area because when you composting oyster shells the sunlight helps the decomposition process.
Start composting oyster shells by placing the small pieces of shell on the composting shovel. Start squeezing the soil and the pieces will soon break down into compost. Keep adding small pieces of shells in this manner until the pile starts to look like dry leaves. The pile should remain this way. If it starts to seem to have broken down too quickly or is becoming hard and soggy, the compost may need to be turned.
To prevent odors and pollutants from being emitted from the shells while decomposing add a light layer of black plastic sheeting to the bottom of the hole. Start squeezing the soil again, but add a couple of inches of black plastic. When the compost starts to look like crumbled black gravel walkways are now visible. You will need to do some walking in order for the walkways to be presentable. This is easily accomplished using a large wooden roller. The area can then be finished off with crushed stone or bricks.
After the walkways are installed you will want to add compost to them. Composting can be done either by hand or with an automatic composting system. Both methods work well, but the automatic systems are more economical. This method mixes the organic waste material with the soil in the drum and the microorganisms break down the waste over time. As the material breaks down it becomes a finer powder which turns into a fine powder similar to coarse sand. The fine powder is the micronutrient content added to the soil.
The micronutrients are the source of building blocks for the plant root structure and as the plant roots break down the micronutrients are released and carried away by the wind. Eventually the shells are reduced to a very low point and the oyster shells are left behind. This all happens very quickly and in the end you have a beautiful natural landscape filled with very healthy plants.
By recycling the shells you are not only getting a high-quality soil additive due to their high-quality calcium. By mixing the compost with the ground you are also getting a high-quality soil additive due to their high-quality calcium. In addition to being a high-quality soil additive due to its calcium it also releases carbon into the air. This process is great for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
To recycle the shells you will need to purchase a composting hose, or a rotating compost bin. Another option would be to purchase and build your own compost bin. These are quite simple garden sheds that can be seen at many home improvement centers. The design of these bins is specifically designed to hold a rotating drum containing organic waste such as old oyster shells. Once this drum has reached the end of its cycle simply dump the waste inside.